Federal Judge Strikes Down Florida's Gay Marriage Ban

Aug 21, 2014

Credit Arlene Goldberg

A federal judge in Tallahassee struck down the state’s gay marriage ban Thursday. The ruling is a victory for a Fort Myers woman who lost her wife earlier this year.

United States District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled Florida’s law prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states, as well as a provision banning same sex marriages here in Florida is unconstitutional.

The plaintiffs in the case included eight same sex couples from around the Sunshine state.  The lawsuit also included Arlene Goldberg of Fort Myers.

Goldberg lost her wife and partner of 47 years, Carol Goldwasser, this March. The couple were married in New York in 2011. But, because of Florida’s ban Goldberg hasn’t been able to collect any benefits, which she says is discriminatory. She said Judge Hinkle did the right thing.

“It’s been so difficult and to see this happened for me in her name and for the LGBT community is amazing,” she said. “Just amazing.”

The case was brought against Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, as well as other state officials.

Florida is now the 16th state where a federal court struck down a gay marriage ban since the Supreme Court struck down the main provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The judge also issued a stay delaying the effect of his ruling. This means no marriage licenses will be immediately issued for gay couples in the state.